How to Floss Effectively

teeth whitening novi miEven if you’re already brushing your teeth twice daily as recommended by dentists everywhere including Arbor Dental Associates in Novi, MI, you may not be doing enough to stave off tooth decay and gum disease. No one can argue that brushing is an integral part of your oral hygiene regimen, but flossing is equally important. Brushing your teeth removes only the bacteria and particles forming plaque that are relatively easy to reach.

This bacteria combines with saliva and food particles to create plaque, a sticky but clear and colorless substance that attaches to your teeth. On plaque, the bacteria living in your mouth finds a place to thrive and begins eating eat away at your tooth enamel. When this certain areas become weak and break down, cavities are formed, exposing the inside of your tooth to infection and making your tooth sensitive by exposing the root.

Why Is Flossing So Important?

Flossing can stop tooth decay right in its’ tracks. Flossing removes the plaque that your toothbrush can’t, clearing it out from those hard-to-reach places like between your teeth. An old saying tells us that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and flossing regularly can be that ounce of prevention where tooth decay is concerned. Flossing at least once a day can help you avoid painful, time-consuming and potentially costly dental procedures that you may need if tooth decay is allowed to progress unchecked between teeth. However, it is important that you are flossing effectively to reap the maximum benefit.

How to Floss Correctly

Step 1. Wrap an 18 inch length of floss around your middle fingers. Use your thumbs and forefingers to move the floss back and forth between your teeth. You should wind more around one finger than the other so you can wind the already used floss onto the finger with less floss and unwrap fresh floss to use. Bacteria that has been removed on floss can linger and make you sick if reintroduced later

Step 2. Push the floss between two teeth and use a gentle “sawing” (back and forth) motion all the way from the top of the teeth down to their base where they emerge from your gums.

Step 3. Wrap the floss around the side of one tooth in a “U” shape then gently slide up and down your tooth. Repeat this several times, making sure to go slightly underneath the gum-line, then repeat on the other side of the tooth. Do this for each tooth.

Step 4. You shouldn’t worry too much if you see that your gums are bleeding when you floss. If you don’t already floss regularly, a little bleeding is perfectly normal. This bleeding is caused by irritating the inflammation created by the bacteria living there. If you continue to floss daily as recommended by your dentist, you should notice an improvement in the health of gums in one to two weeks.

Floss Picks Are Less Effective Than You Think

Some people prefer to use floss picks that are now widely available at most drug stores.  These “Y” shaped pieces of plastic have a length of floss strung between the “arms” of the “Y” may be easier to use. However, dentists prefer their patients use a length of “free” floss and their hands. Floss picks don’t allow for proper flossing due to the fact that you cannot wrap them around a tooth in the “U” shape recommended. However, using them is still better than not flossing at all.

Schedule An Appointment With Your Dentist

Most dentists agree that flossing after you brush your teeth is preferable as there will already be less plaque and food particles to get stuck on the floss.  If you have any additional questions about brushing, flossing or your oral health, call (248) 553-9393 or schedule an appointment online with your Arbor Dental Associates dentist at our office in Novi, MI today.

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